by Shaker everstar
[Trigger warning for stalking/violation of privacy.]
One of my favorite pastimes is about to do something incredibly, incredibly stupid and dangerous.
Okay. I play World of Warcraft, and I enjoy it ridiculous amounts, and recently they implemented an in-game system where you can give out the address associated with your Warcraft account to other people and they can see your real name. Which not everyone is crazy about, but it's optional, so it's not an involuntary invasion of privacy. Also there are some benefits: You can talk to people when they're playing their opposing side characters, and also when they're on a different realm than you are. So there's a trade-off.
But today, Blizzard, the company that owns WoW, announced that they would implement this system, the RealID system, in their public forums. That means every post you make will have the name linked with your account published. On a public forum. Where everyone can see it. If you want to ask a question in their Customer Service forum, if you want to post a Bug Report, if you want to talk to other people in your realm, the name associated with your account will be displayed. And it's supposed to be your real name.
You can't turn it off. You can't opt out. You can't opt to have only your first name displayed, or a nickname. It's your real name.
There are people who've moved servers to get away from people who were stalking them on other servers. There are a lot of women players who hide behind male avatars to avoid being harassed. Where are they going to go?
They're even going to force this on their Game Masters, who are required to live in one of two cities to do their jobs. So now the Game Master on the forum who told you that thing you didn't like…? Google hir name around Irvine, CA or Austin, TX, and you just might find hir.
I hasten to clarify that this hasn't happened yet. It's supposed to happen around the time they roll out the new expansion, which rumor says will happen around October or so. So we've got time to get it through their heads that they should absolutely not do this. Shakers, let us work our teaspoons to spoon some sense into Blizzard.
Contact Blizzard Entertainment here.
Or contact via snail mail at:
Attn: Mr. Mike Morhaine, CEO
P.O. Box 18979
Irvine, CA 92623